Time in the Realms
The following calendar is common enough to apply to all regions within the Realms (especially the northern regions). The year consists of 365 days: 12 months of exactly 30 days each (due to the single moon and its followers), plus five days that fall between months. These days are special occasions. Leap year is retained purely for social convenience, and provides a sixth special day that is used as the basis for long-term agreements and such contracts and activities.
Months are subdivided into three ten-day periods. These are known variously as eves, tendays, weeks, domen, hyrar, or rides throughout the Forgotten Realms. While rides is the standard term used in Cormyr and the Dalelands, this text uses weeks to avoid confusion. However, in the Realms, the phrase “a week to ten days” means the same as “six of one, a half-dozen of the other.”
Although the months that comprise a year are standardized, the system of dating years varies from place to place. Usually, years are numbered from an event of great political or religious significance. Each nation or region has cultures with unique histories, and thus, different reckonings. The system of naming the months is named for its inventor, the long-dead wizard Harptos of Kaalinth, and is in use throughout the North.
The Calendar of Harptos
The Calendar of Harptos is summarized in the table below. Each month’s name is followed by a colloquial description of that month, plus the roughly corresponding month of the Gregorian calendar in parentheses. Special days are listed when they occur between months, and appear in italic type. Each special day is described in the Special Calendar Days section, below.
Order Name Colloquial Description Gregorian Month
1 Hammer Deepwinter (January)
2 Alturiak The Claw of Winter, (February) or the Claws of the Cold
3 Ches of the Sunsets(March)
4 Tarsakh of the Storms (April)
5 Mirtul The Melting(May)
6 KythornThe Time of Flowers (June)
7 Flamerule Summertide (July)
8 Eleasias Highsun (August)
9 Eleint The Fading (September)
10 Marpenoth Leafall (October)
11 Uktar The Rotting (November)
- The Feast of the Moon—-
12 Nightal The Drawing Down (December)
Special Calendar Days
Midwinter: Midwinter is known officially in Cormyr as the High Festival of Winter. It is a feast where, traditionally, the local lords of the land plan the year ahead, make and renew alliances, and send fife of goodwill. To the commonfolk throughout the Realms, this is Deadwinter Day, the midpoint of the worst of the cold.
Greengrass: Greengrass is the official beginning of spring, a day of relaxation. Flowers that have been carefully grown in the inner rooms of the keeps and temples during the winter are blessed and cast out upon the snow to bring rich growth in the season ahead.
Midsummer: Midsummer, called Midsummer Night or the Long Night, is a time of feasting and music and love. In a ceremony performed in some lands, unwed maidens are set free in the woods and “hunted” by their would-be suitors throughout the night. Betrothals are traditionally made upon this night. It is very rare indeed for the weather to be bad during this night – such is considered a very bad omen, usually thought to foretell famine or plague.
Higharvestide: Higharvestide heralds the coming of fall and the harvest. It is a feast that often continues for the length of the harvest so that food is always on hand for those coming in from the fields. There is much traveling about on the heels of the feast, as merchants, court emissaries, and pilgrims make speed before the worst of the mud arrives and the rain freezes in the snow.
The Feast of the Moon: This festival, also called Moonfest, is the last great festival of the year. It marks the arrival of winter and is also the day when the dead are honored. Graves are blessed, the Ritual of Remembrance is performed, and tales of the doings of those now gone are told far into the night. Much is said of heroes and treasure and lost cities underground.
Wars, by the way, are often but not always fought after the harvest is done, continuing as late as the weather permits. The bulk of the fighting takes place in the month of Uktar, and the ironic practicality of the Feast of the Moon is readily apparent.
Shieldmeet: Once every four years, another day is added to the year in the manner of February 29 in the Gregorian calendar. This day is part of no month and follows Midsummer Night. It is known as Shieldmeet. It is a day of open council between nobles and people, a day for the making and renewing of pacts, oaths, and agreements. It is a day for tournaments, tests and trials for those wishing to advance in battle fame or clerical standing, for entertainment of all types, particularly theatrical, and for dueling.
Marking the Years
Years (winters) are referred to by names, each name consistent across the Realms. Each kingdom or city-state numbers years differently, usually to measure the reign of a dynasty or the current monarch, or since the founding of the country. The result is a hodgepodge of overlapping numbers that serve to confuse the ordinary person and frustrate the sage. The widespread differing year dates include the following:
Dalereckoning (DR): Dalereckoning is taken from the year that humans were first permitted by the Elven Court to settle in the more open regions of the forests. The information within this text is accurate to the close of 1367 DR. In some texts, primarily those which do not have direct ties to Dales history, Dalereckoning is called Freeman’s Reckoning (FR).
Cormyr Reckoning (CR): Cormyr Reckoning begins at the foundation of House Obarskyr, the dynasty that still rules that land. The information in this text is accurate to the close of 1342 CR. The 25-year gap between Cormyr Reckoning and Dalereckoning has caused much of the confusion regarding elder days. Timelines and calendars of the period often use DR designators, but place the founding of Cormyr at I DR instead of 26 DR. This is understandable, given that the two reckonings are from two nearby parties and spread by a third (the merchants of Sembia), but it causes learned sages to slam their heads violently against their desks trying to figure things out.
Northreckoning (NR): Used in the City of Waterdeep, Northreckoning dates from the year Ahghairon became the first Lord of Waterdeep. The information within this text is accurate to 335 NR. A more archaic system called Waterdeep Years (WY) dates from the supposed first use of Waterdeep as a trading post. Now largely abandoned except in ancient texts, the current year would be 2455 WY.
Dragon Years (DY): The use of Dragon Years is an ancient form of counting in dragon generations of 200 years each. There are 10 cycles of 200 years to a color, and each two-millenium color is named after a type of dragon. This reckoning is long-since abandoned, such that it is uncertain whether the current year is 145 or 147 of the Adult Red Dragon.
Mulhorand Calendar (MC): One of the oldest calendars in use in the Realms, this ancient scheme of record-keeping dates from the founding of Skuld, the City of Shadows, reputedly by a Mulhorandi god. This tome is accurate to the year 3501 MC.